Album Review: Bonnie Raitt – Just Like That…

Bonnie Raitt’s iconic voice is hallmarked by its rough and raw sound. At the age of 72, the musician has the wisdom and life experience to back up that weathered sound. In her 21st album Just Like That… Raitt brings the intelligent arrangements, soulful energy, and musical prowess that have kept listeners excited for decades.

The album opens with the upbeat, yet cool “Made up my Mind.” The rich backing vocals provide a lush background for the catchy melody. Raitt has always had an ear for songs that ride the line between complexity and accessibility, and this song is no different. 

The raucous “Living for the Ones” is the rock heart of the album. One of the four original songs on the record, this song is a testament to the difficult several years we all just experienced. With a lyrical melancholy that juxtaposes the melodic fervor, Raitt sings: “I don’t think we’ll get back how we use to  / No use in tryin’ to measure the loss / We better start gettin’ used to it / And damn the cost / I’m living for the ones that didn’t make it”.

“Waitin’ For You to Blow,” another original tune, written from the perspective of alcohol and alcoholism. The song is an insightful and creative depiction of recovery. The song includes a stunning Rhodes Piano solo from Glenn Patscha – a characteristic sound heard throughout the album.

“Blame it on Me” is the sensual, synthy, heartbroken ballad reminiscent of the songs that she’s best known for, like “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. This song has the poetic strength and emotional base to warrant it a classic. 

The album closes with an acoustic guitar finger-picked style that is reminiscent of her friend and mentor, John Prine. Like his songs, this song is written in a third person story-telling style. She recounts the story of a prison hospice program that she learned about from a New York Times article. About the stories, Raitt said “These stories moved me deeply, and in the face of so much hatred and cruelty the last few years, these examples of redemption, and people acting out of love, were healing for me, and what I wanted to focus on and write about.”

Just Like That… proves that Raitt is still full of the talent, energy, and poignant messages that have characterized her career. The record is a welcome contribution to her already fantastic catalogue.

Nell Sather